Parents – Inappropriate Home and School Behaviors

Last week, a friend, who is easily the best kindergarten teacher I have ever observed, told of a recent experience in her kindergarten class. She had asked a young boy to “cap his marker,” meaning to put the cap on tightly. For some unknown reason, these words sparked a fit of anger that was hard to imagine even in an adult. After rampaging around the room for far too long, this 5-year-old ended his tirade by calling his teacher a “stupid f___k__r.” I hope that is as shocking to you as it is to me.

We have all heard the statement, “Children learn what they live.” In the past this meant that what you showed your child at home was exactly how your child would behave. But in this day and age of both parents working and single parent families, many children “live” in many different places. Some children “live” part of their day in pre-school or daycare, some stay with other family members, some stay with neighbors or family friends, etc. Children today also spend a great deal of time “living” in front of the television watching behaviors that are not necessarily what we would like for them to see. Consequently, parents have little control over what language or attitudes children pick up in other places.

However, parents have a critical responsibility in determining what language and behaviors their children ingrain into their own being. So whether you have to adjust your own behaviors or alter what your children learn elsewhere, there are certain behaviors and attitudes that, ideally, your children should never experience or that must be “fixed” if learned elsewhere. These behaviors are all inappropriate in a school environment for students and teachers alike. We want our children to be successful in school, enjoy learning, and be excited about the future. Behavior and attitude issues can throw our goals for our children off track very quickly. Your child needs you to be constantly aware of what he/she is saying and doing and then make adjustments as necessary. Your child also needs you to be a role-model of appropriate behavior.

Inappropriate Home and School Behaviors:

1. Swearing. I know that children hear swearing everywhere, and there are differences of opinion as to just how bad swearing is; but if a student swears at a teacher, the result is generally suspension from school. Swearing at adults shows a lack of respect for authority figures–not a good idea in school or at home. Not allowing swearing in the home and discussing issues like non-swearing ways to handle anger will help prevent having your child pick up a habit that is difficult to remove and can have serious consequences. (I fear that the little boy mentioned above has a rough future ahead.)

2. Arguing. If children are constantly exposed to family members arguing with each other, then they grow to believe that arguing is the correct way to deal with everyone else.

3. Inappropriate humor. Don’t be fooled. Children hear everything you say even if they don’t react at the time. It is pretty embarrassing to have the school call and tell you a dirty joke your child was spreading around school–especially when you realize where they heard it.

4. Being too physical. If your child is seeing or experiencing slapping, punching, etc., you can expect that type of behavior to be duplicated at school.

5. Criticizing or blaming others. Students of all ages want to blame others for misbehavior or for school failures. Children need to see their parents accepting responsibility for their own mistakes; and children should never hear anyone talking negatively about others behind their back.

6. Discussing or exhibiting prejudicial attitudes. While your beliefs are your own business, your child has to exist in a diversified environment. Your child will eventually have to work in a diversified environment. You can make that easy or difficult.

7. Demeaning behaviors. Being sarcastic, embarrassing your child, belittling your child, comparing your child negatively to others (sibling, relative, or friend), etc. will have a negative impact on your child’s self-concept forever.

8. Quick to anger. Be a role-model of “counting to ten” before reacting. Take time to find out the facts before reacting.

9. Cheating. Don’t assume you child knows what cheating is. Have frequent discussions about what constitutes cheating. (Many high school students think it is perfectly acceptable to copy homework from others.) Be a role-model of honesty yourself.

10. Bullying/Harassment. If you see or hear ANY bullying or harassment, put a stop to it immediately–even if it involves someone else’s child. NEVER allow your child to bully anyone–even a younger sibling.

Even if none of these things happen in your home, your child is probably “living with” many of these things somewhere. Daycare is a primary source for many of these behaviors. This means it will take a great deal of effort on your part to explain why these things are inappropriate and to give them the proper behaviors. I know this seems unfair somehow; but in the end, it is parents who are accountable for their child’s behavior.

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5 Easy to Make Snacks for Home and Parties

Nutritionists will tell you that the best way to have a healthy eating life is to have several small meals a day. This includes some well-balanced and yummy snack to tie you over from one meal to the next. It doesn’t take much to satiate your appetite between meals, but you want the snacks to be easy to make and fun.

Here are 5 easy to make snacks for home and parties.

1. Fruit skewers and yogurt dip – using wooden skewers or even long tooth picks, cut chunks of yummy fruits like strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and blue berries. Thread them on the skewer and serve with a variety of yogurt flavors as dips. Also, add a dip of chocolate or caramel to sweeten things up even more.

2. Trail mix – this is always a snack time winner. Mix your favorite dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and small candies together. Apricots, cranberries, and pomegranates are great to mix with peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, M&M’s or mini chocolate kisses. Each mouthful is a combination of flavor sensations from salty to sweet to savory and crunchy.

3. Mini sandwiches – use a variety of small breads like mini croissants, appetizer sized rye bread, or small buns. Mix up a batch of homemade chicken salad or egg salad to spread out for guests or kids returning home from school. You can even roll up deli meats of turkey, roast beef, bologna, or salami and serve in mini form.

4. Nachos – who doesn’t love a warm plate of tortilla chips covered in melted cheese? A plate of nachos will serve many people and have them coming back for more. Spread your favorite tortilla chips on an oven safe plate and then completely smother in shredded Mexican cheese. Cook in the oven or microwave to fully melt the cheese. Optional additions to the plate would be scattering cooked ground beef (can add taco seasoning to it as it cooks), or grilled chicken pieces. Add sliced jalapenos or black olives (not everyone will want to eat those) on the side, and provide dips of fresh salsa and sour cream.

5. Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs – here’s something to kick up any party or snack time. Take six eggs and hard boil them. Cool, shell and then cut lengthwise, reserving the yolk in a separate dish. Add one fourth cup of mayonnaise, one tablespoon of finely grated/shredded cheddar cheese, one teaspoon spicy brown mustard, and 4 slices of crisply cooked bacon crumbled up. With a fork, break up the cooked yolks and then mix in the mayonnaise, bacon, cheese, and mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture into the egg white cups and then serve.

Snacks don’t have to take up a lot of your time to taste good and these fun food ideas can also be used at parties like baby showers and outdoor picnics. So next time you have people over or just need a

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